2014 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #16 - Nikita Scherbak

Next up is winger Nikita Scherbak of the WHL's Saskatoon Blades!

Nikita Scherbak

Position: RW
Current Team: Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Date of Birth: December 30, 1995
Place of Birth: Moscow, Russia
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 175 lbs
Shoots: Left

After deciding to move from Russia to the CHL, Nikita Scherbak has seen his stock soar. A bit undersized in terms of his weight (though his frame should have room to fill out), Scherbak has made up for it with agility on his skates, great hockey sense, and solid vision and hands. He finished the year as the 15th-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings.

Another guy who comes into the draft with some "grit" to go with a big body, some good skating, and some hands, Scherbak has a lot to like in his game. He's still very raw, since he's really just getting his feet wet in North America despite being older for this draft class. He has room to improve on his defensive game, and there are some questions about his effort level and consistency of said effort. One wonders how much of that is the "Russian" tag versus actual results. All of that having been said, he's known to be willing to win battles in the corners.

Scherbak is a player who still needs a lot of polish, but might have one of the highest ceilings of the "middle" tier of players in the first round given the fact that he's still really finding his game in North America. Still, he's made steady improvement and looks to continue doing so.

Scherbak is a skilled but gritty forward who has a strong shot and offensive senses plus the ability to evade would be checkers by using his quick agility and slick hands. He puts pressure on opposing defenses every game. Has some work to do with regards to rounding out his defensive game and effort levels. - Elite Prospects

Another player who has launched himself into first round consideration is Saskatoon Blades import winger Nikita Scherbak, the WHL's leading rookie scorer by a large margin. Scherbak leads the Blades as well posting well over a point-per-game making a flawless transition into the North American junior hockey circuit. An intelligent player who’s shown to be very coachable, Scherbak’s game is featured around strong skating, creative vision and a willingness to engage physically in puck battles at both ends of the rink. He’s learning quickly and his big steps in development are exactly what teams covet. - Brendan Ross - Dobber Prospects

A Good Fit in Columbus?

I think he could be, with the caveat that it will probably take a few years for him to be ready. He's a bit behind the curve for his age, having just finished his first season in Canadian juniors. That said, he has the frame, the skating, the grit, and the offensive awareness to make an impact for Columbus. He'll need to clean up his defense (or commit to it, perhaps) and make sure that he's willing to bring it each and every shift to meld into the Jackets' system, but one would think with the leadership this club has (not to mention the Russian voices in the dressing room) that those concerns can be mitigated in time.

Scherbak in Action

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